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Depth In Rhythms

We normally play a rhythmic pattern with a single orientation. It's like when we say a sentence, we don't start on the second or third syllable of a word.

 

Unlike a song, in which the order of the words tells us where a statement begins and ends, a rhythmic pattern is made up of a series notes that could start almost anywhere. If a drummer tries to join another drummer harmoniously, and he misinterprets the other, the two may end working against each other.

 

The problem is that, when one drummer misinterprets what another is saying, his accompaniment may be to an entirely different statement.

 

Drumming is intellectualy, emotionaly, and physically stimulating. But, the emotional stimulation is dependent on the other two. So, there should be a common language.

 

Beat:

 

How groups of notes are turned into "words".

 

Pattern:

 

The linear structure of a rhythm. e.g.:

 

|x-xx-xx-|

 

Vertical Interplay:

 

The 2 dimensional geometric structure of a multi-part rhythm when its pattern is interpreted as a visual image.

 

Unison:

 

Identical rhythms played together.

 

Imbroglio:

 

Different rhythms, tempos, meters, etc. played together. Two or more completely different pieces played at (almost) the same time.

 

Polyrhythm:

 

Combination of different rhythms and/or rhythms with differently perceived temporal starts. And/or, rhythms of different meters or tempos.

 

Shifted Rhythms:

 

When the perceived start of a rhythm is displaced less than one half cycle from the perceived start of another rhythm.

 

Example:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|O O O O O   t S|t   O   t   S  | merengue starting on 1

 r l r l r   l r l   r   l   r

 

|O   B     O B  |O   B     O B  | calypso starting on 2

 l   r     l r   l   r     l r

 

Doubled Rhythms:

 

Shifted identical rhythms.

 

Example:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|B     O B   O  |B     O B   O  |calypso starting on 1

 r     l r   l   r     l r   l

 

|O   B     O B  |O   B     O B  |calypso starting on 2

 l   r     l r   l   r     l r

 

Cross Rhythms:

 

When the perceived start of a rhythm is displaced exactly one half cycle from the perceived start of some other rhythm.

 

Example:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|O   O   S     S|O   O   S     S|  conga starting on 1

 r   r   r     l r   r   r     l

 

|B   O   B     O|B   O   B     O|  calypso starting on 3

 r   l   r     l r   l   r     l

 

Counter Rhythms:

 

When the perceived start of a rhythm is displaced exactly one half cycle from an identical rhythm.

 

Example:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|B     O B   O  |B     O B   O  |  calypso starting on 1

 r     l r   l   r     l r   l

 

|B   O   B     O|B   O   B     O|  calypso starting on 3

 r   l   r     l r   l   r     l

 

Hockets:

 

Identical rhtyhms made of repeated short identical elements, doubled and shifted 1 or 2 pulses.

 

Example:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|          |1 2 3 1 2 3|

|O O     O O    |          |S   O S   O|

|    O O     O O|          |O S   O S  |

 

Polymetric Rhythms:

 

Rhythms of different meters or tempos.

 

Simple Polymeter:

 

Different meter, same tempo, same cycle time.

 

e.g.:

 

Abakua, Cuba

 

|1 2 3 4 5 6|1 2 3 4 5 6|

|O       O  |    O      |    binary part

|O          |O          |    ternary part

 

Compound Polymeter:

 

Single rhythm that can be of more than one meter, depending on how it is played and/or what it is played along with.

 

e.g.:

 

|1&2&3&1&2&3&|

|B O O B O O |   binary spacing of a ternary pattern

 

Complex Polymeter:

 

Different meters, different speeds, same cycle time.

 

e.g.: (dots are used to show polymetric spacing)

 

........................

1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &

|  ,  .  ,  .  ,  .  ,  | 8 pulse measure

O     O  O     O  O       cinquillo

 

O       O   O   O         "1/2" bembe

1   2   3   4   5   6     6 pulse measure

|   .   .   .   .   .   |

 

Compound Complex Polymeter:

 

Complex rhythms, at least one being compound.

 

e.g.:

 

1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

| . . . . . . . . . . . |

S   O S   O S   O S   O    ternary part

B       O       O          compound complex-binary ternary

                           3 pulses against 12 pulses

 

So then you can have:

 

Depth by position:

 

Unison & Imbroglio

Polyrhythm & Shifted Rhythm

Doubled Rhythm & Hocket

Cross Rhythm & Counter Rhythm

 

Depth by Polymeter:

 

Simple

Compound

Complex

Compound Complex

 

Depth by density:

 

Compound Complex (cc)

 

Jim's Notes: A Course in Drumming

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